The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Levy on doctors drawn up

Calcutta, Jan. 2: The government has drawn up the fee structure for medical practitioners’ registration and widened the reach of a rule to improve doctors’ interaction with those accompanying patients at state-run hospitals.

Doctors with post-graduate degrees are expected to pay Rs 500 as registration fees for practising in their chambers and those with MBBS Rs 100 under the guidelines being framed.

Doctors attending polyclinics will have to pay Rs 500 each. The doctors will have to pay 50 per cent of the registration fees as renewal charges.

Both the proposals — to make the doctors register themselves and renew the registrations — have generated a controversy with the Bengal chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) opposing them.

The government had yesterday eased some of the requirements, reducing the frequency of the proposed renewal from every year to once in three years.

Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said it will be mandatory for doctors in all government hospitals to meet patient parties daily. Only doctors in SSKM, Burdwan Medical College and Hospital and Cooch Behar Hospital meet patients regularly now. “This system must be followed in every hospital. Doctors must meet the patient parties daily between 4 and 6 pm. At every hospital, we have necessary arrangements,” he said.

Director of medical education Chittaranjan Maity said the government is planning to introduce a chapter in the MBBS course on doctor-patient relationship.

Chatterjee said the changes in the fee structure were suggested after a full-length discussion with the IMA and eminent doctors. “In all probability, the revised rates will come into force from the end of this month,” Chatterjee said.

The recommendations will be sent to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee through health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra for final approval.

The president of the state chapter of the IMA, Subir Ganguly, ruled out the possibility of doctors agreeing to the registration proposal. The doctors already pay licence fees to the corporation or municipality under which his/her chamber comes, said Ganguly.

But Ganguly added that, at most, the doctors might agree to cough up a “one-time” registration fee. Chatterjee, however, said the fee structure was drawn up keeping in mind the objections of the IMA.

The IMA’s appeal to bring ayurvedic and homoeopathic doctors under the Clinical Establishment Act, 2001, has been accepted. According to the recommendations, the renewal charges of nursing homes in the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) area and the district headquarters will remain same. But if more than 30 beds is added to an existing nursing home, the owner will have to pay an additional Rs 150.

Pathological laboratories in the CMDA areas and the district headquarters will be required to pay Rs 500 if they are small, Rs 1,000 if they are medium-sized and Rs 2,500 if big. But in sub-division and rural areas, the rates will be Rs 400, 800 and 1,500 according to their size. In all the cases, renewal charges will be 50 per cent. The laboratory-owners will have the option to apply for a three-year licence at one shot.

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